Countdown to Graduation

by Lance Williams
March 29, 2012 2:05 PM

Here I am, a senior who is just six weeks from graduating, and I cannot in words express how excited I am. My time at Freed-Hardeman has definitely been the most enjoyable and memorable four years of my life, but I feel that I am ready to move on. For the past two years I have been interning in our Information Technology department as a programmer and I feel that this was the best career decision I have ever made. My education, particularly in Computer Science, has set up a great foundation of both knowledge and the ability to learn new things quickly. This education, coupled with my experience in the IT department, has given me at least some confidence in my ability to find and maintain a job.

With all that said, with my excitement to finish school and my confidence in my education and work-experience, I still am quite nervous and almost frightened in the idea of working outside of the FHU world. In my internship I have had to accomplish different tasks that involved and utilized unrelated things, but I fear that if I were placed entirely out of my element that I could fail. I don't believe this is a reflection on Freed-Hardeman's ability to educate, or my boss's ability to assign realistic programming tasks, but rather my lack of knowledge on programming in the "real-world". This uncertainty, and I think it would be said for anyone entering a market they were unfamiliar with, is truly intimidating and frightening, but also a necessary step in life.

When I compare myself to my friends that have went on to get jobs, both from Freed-Hardeman and other Universities, I do consider myself to possess similar, if not perhaps better abilities than them. I believe that FHU is responsible for this in the education and opportunities I was offered while here. While slightly scared I am beyond excited to move on. I look forward to being challenged in my profession and having the ability and mentality to utilize my Freed-Hardeman experiences to accomplish my goals.

Time Management: A Student's Perspective

by Lance Williams
January 27, 2012 8:23 PM

As a college senior I have found that perhaps the most important ability you need to have in college is managing time. As a student you have so many different things going on, such as classes, class work, professional clubs, social activities, sports, and of course just chilling with friends, and it's important to be able to balance these.

I have found in my time here at Freed that the best way to manage time is by using and staying faithful to Google Calendar. Google Calendar is another one of Google's many free products that just make life easier. It allows you to schedule activities, but visually. You mark the time you have scheduled meetings as "blocks" on the grid view of the calendar. This allows you to literally see the amount of time on your schedule. With Google Calendar, you can classify different blocks as different types of activities, by giving them different colors. You can also add tasks, for assignments, or just things you need to accomplish throughout the week. You can even share your calendar with other people, so they can see when you're busy or free. And the best thing, as always with Google, is it lives in the cloud. Once you create your calendar, you can access it from any device that allows you to sign in with you Google account. If you have an Android device, your calendar is instantly synced to your device every time you make an update. If you aren't using Google Calendar now, I highly suggest it - it truly makes life simpler.

FHU Mobile for Android (Starting the Process)

by Lance Williams
September 27, 2011 5:00 PM

Recently I have begun the development of FHU Mobile for Android. At first it seemed rather daunting, and while there is a definite difference in building web applications and native application, Google has given developers all the tools they need to build responsive, powerful applications that take advantage of the mobile state of an Android device. 

After consulting the Android documentation, I was able to figure out just how to get everything up and running. The Android uses Java, so as far as I know, any Java-based IDE will work to develop Android apps. The developer's guide suggests using Eclipse, so that's what I went with. In the past I have used both Eclipse and Netbeans as development environments, but I must say I feel most at home with Visual Studio. First let me say that in my humble opinion, when it comes to IDEs, Visual Studio is second to none. Microsoft has developed a very intuitive (Microsoft?) powerful program that almost makes me feel as if it teaches me to code as a code. In the little time I have had with Eclipse I must say that it does offer most of the "perks" of Visual Studio, such as good error checking and an intelligent auto-correct, however it isn't as fluid as VS. Eclipse runs slow on my machine, whereas Visual Studio is rather snappy, even on my 2008 Macbook (Windows 7). Visual Studio's Intellisense shines even more after using Eclipse, in which its auto-prediction is rather slow and not that smart. 

As mentioned earlier Android apps are written in Java which is particularly awesome because it allows you to use most any of the large number of java libraries floating around on the internet. With that mentioned the actual logical coding of the applications are very similar to any other language I have used. It is the view-based components, and how the different methods work that have caused the biggest challenge to me. I am slowly learning my way around the Android framework and I believe I will continue to enjoy this challenge.

Week 7: Summer of Code

by Lance Williams
July 1, 2011 12:01 PM

This week has been a productive week to say the least. I have recently completed all tasks associated with the core functionality of the back channel app. This included adding the ability for any user to join, search for, and create a session. Users that are affiliated with Freed-Hardeman have the ability to create or search for a session based on a certain class they might be involved in. Outside users still have the ability to create a session, it's just not tied to a particular class. We also added the ability to send out email invites to any one that the creator might want to have access to their session. We've also completed our roles and their functional privileges.

One additional functionality that was completed yesterday was the creation of our own application account management. Originally we had used the default ASP Membership accounts as the template for our Contribute Accounts, but it didn't work out so well. The Contribute Account also allows for the retrievals of forgotten passwords, so at the point that you log-in to the app, you'll never have an excuse to not be able to join again. 

Like I said it's been a very productive week and it's only going to get better. I'm learning a lot and becoming even more interested in this project than I already was. I'm looking forward to sharing some new features that will be added in the next few weeks very soon!

Feeling Like a Real Developer

by Lance Williams
June 11, 2011 11:33 AM

This has been my first full week back to work, and I once again I am quickly learning new things. The week began with working on using different types of accounts to sign in to our backchannel app. So far we've implemented logins using Only1, ASP Membership accounts, Google account, and Facebook authentication. One thing I've learned is that the Facebook API is very tricky to use. They actually have quite a few different APIs that are slowly being either updated or deprecated, and there's not much documentation given with them.

I've also started going with more of an object-oriented route in my programming; designing classes and such instead of just coding the same methods over and over again...yeah, I can sometimes be a dirty programmer. I've found that not only is it a lot easier to go about programming this way, but it also just feels more professional. I hope to go about being more clean on this project the rest of the promises though. Laughing